CHOICE membership

Do you need health insurance for the COVID-19 coronavirus?

Health insurance is not needed to cover treatment for COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know:

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CHOICE is calling for health insurers to cancel premium increases due to COVID-19 measures:

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Alternately should the insurers be asked to fund the treatment of all private patients requiring treatment, no gap, in place of medicare cover to take some of the financial pressure off the public system?

If the system becomes heavily loaded with more virus cases, it would seem the benefits of private cover are even less than minimal. If the funds will not discount membership at a time they cannot deliver the required services, what value are they delivering?

There was a suggestion from one community member that they would be applying to suspend their health fund membership for six months due to financial hardship. It’s another way to respond.

I’d prefer options of a large discount or voluntary suspension for at least 6months. No increase seems a very minor offer.

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I suppose a benefit of having private health insurance is if the public system is overwhelmed with patients, the local private emergency department may not be and having private health insurance may allow one to utilise the private hospital emergency department and their equipment.

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It might be pertinent to ask what if any of the listed benefits in each tier of private cover if any are likely to able to be provided as hospital needs escalate?

Up here few private hospitals have emergency. You get taken to the nearest public hospital, and if possible get transferred. That assumes of course that the public system hasn’t taken over the private, which it has, sort of.

https://indaily.com.au/news/national/2020/03/25/pm-cancels-elective-surgery-as-hospitals-prepare-for-pandemic-cases/

If you are an older Aussie with private cover, it would seem unreasonable to expect private cover to get you to the head of the queue for anything, including a ventilator.

The tough question remains what if anything will the private health funds offer? I hope Brendan can get something more.

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A ventilator. It appears that this is a key piece of equipment to maximise the success of one’s survival…

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Received notification of the following by email from Defence Health:

To support you, we are introducing significant premium relief measures. We hope this support will assist our members in these trying times.

  • The 1 April 2020 premium increase has been suspended until further notice for all members. You do not need to take any action; this will be automatically applied.
  • We have expanded relief for members experiencing financial hardship.
  • All members on hospital policies will be covered for any COVID-19 related treatment, regardless of your level of cover.
  • And we’ve introduced a new ‘telehealth’ extras benefit for members requiring ongoing dietetics, psychology, speech pathology or physiotherapy sessions over video or phone (some conditions apply).

For ADF and serving members:

  • We have relaxed the service requirements for Reservists until further notice so you may maintain eligibility for your ADF package or Reservist discount.
  • We’ve also extended the Transition Discount for eligible ex-serving memberships by 6 months.

Heading in the right direction …

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HCI sent a similar email today. It seems health funds re COVID-19 have been introduced into a number of parallel topics, but to put them together in a single coherent existing one, and which that might be?

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With most funds delaying their yearly premium hike, we’ve updated our article, plus we look at more ways to save:

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The ACCC has made this observation concerning the private health funds. Note it is only a recommendation, despite the ACCC being clear at the same time that a business cannot take payments where a service is unable to be provided. That includes even when the contract says otherwise.

How the latest advice from the ACCC on refunds, credits and consumer rights might affect you.

Some customers have complained they can’t access all the services they pay for under their health insurance policy.

But the corporate watchdog says this isn’t on.

“The ACCC recommends that private health insurers provide remedies for consumers for services that can no longer be provided or only provided to a limited extent due to COVID-19 restrictions, such as dental, optical, physio,” it says.

BUPA sent this out Thursday afternoon heading into the Easter weekend.

Following on from what the ACCC has said about not charging for services that cannot be delivered.

Does this blur the lines?

It suggests BUPA is going to defend any moves for a reduction in fees, in particular for extras cover.

Note:
Discussion on the ABC ‘The Drum’ and other media services has talked about the need to meet regular health needs. In past epidemics, the failure of individuals to obtain medical attention for conditions other than treatment of the epidemic, anecdotally has led to more Deaths than the epidemic.

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is this true ?

If you’re admitted as a private patient to a public or private hospital and have an active Hospital insurance policy that includes benefits for lung and chest treatments, you’ll be covered for the Coronavirus if you’ve served the standard two month waiting period. However, health funds have recently announced that all Hospital policies will now include full hospital coverage for Covid-19.

Hi @gudipudi,
Welcome to the CHOICE Community. From our health expert:

Currently, all patients with COVID-19 get isolated while they’re in hospital. This could be in single rooms or whole wards. Whether you are a public or private patient won’t make a difference.

So it’s more the case that the health response to COVID-19 is led by the public health system at the moment. I hope that helps with your question.

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